Lewes History Museum
101 Adams Avenue
Lewes, DE 19958
Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm
Admission: $5.00 plus entrance to the Cannonball House Museum in addition
My review on TripAdvisor:
Lewes Historical Society:
The Lewes History Museum at 101 Adams Street
When I was visiting Rehoboth Beach, DE recently the museum I had wanted to visit in Rehoboth was closed for the day, so I remembered that there were a few museums in Lewes, DE, a small town right down the highway so I headed there and found the Lewes History Museum at 101 Adams Avenue. The museum was the old library which has since moved across the street.
The entrance to the museum
The museum is very interesting and well set up. The museum is one big room that is broken down in different sections which helps explain the history of the town. Each display moves you through the museum in a chorological order of how the town developed.
The museum starts with a display on early Native American history which then moves to the colonization of the Dutch and British in the area. There are all sorts of interesting artifacts that tell the story of the Revolutionary War by way of the residents.
There are displays on the way homes were designed and decorated as well as the role that Lewes played during the war. There have been a lot of soldiers who had died in the war with their stories being told by the museum. There are also discussions about the interaction between the Native population with the colonists. The Native American collections featured the lives of the tribes that lived in the area of Lewes. They had found this canoe when dredging the area.
The Lewes History Museum’s displays are informative
Life in the Dutch colony was featured after the Native American display as the next group took over this area from the Native Americans. Delaware had been part of the original Dutch colony. When we were taking a tour and the guide said that technically Delaware was part of Maryland but the Dutch stood strong against the British at that time, the area stayed independent but not for long.
The Dutch Colony
The Revolutionary War came to Delaware but it never saw the fighting that the other colonies saw. Still the state had to be on guard at all times and there were British War ships off the coast of Lewes that did do some damage.
Revolutionary War display
The displays held some interesting artifacts including a ‘toasting glass’ from the evening in Fraunces Tavern where George Washington said farewell to his troops. The docent said that he had kept the glass all those years and it was passed down from generation to generation until it made its way to the museum as a donation.
The Farming and Dairy industries played a role in Delaware’s history but because of the type of soil that Lewes had it was not meant for many crops. Wheat, some vegetables and the dairy industry played a role in the business of Lewes.
The Dairy and Agriculture industries of Lewes
There is a section on the development of businesses and Lewes as a resort town. The section on Lewes developing as a resort town was interesting with the advent of ocean swimming, boating and beach recreation. There is also a section on 19th and 20th century business in Lewes that kept up with the times.
20th Century Business
19th Century Business
There was an interesting display on Victorian furniture and decorating for the home. The decorative arts section showed how Victorian families set up their homes and how status symbols like fine furniture and family portraits played an important role in society.
Display on Decorative Arts of the Home
There was a detailed display on the Beebe family and the growth of their well-known hospital. The family started with three beds in a home to the giant hospital that it is today. You can read about the family members contributions both to the hospital and the community.
The history of the Beebe Hospital Family and the growth of the hospital
The area developed and entered the modern era with displays on Public Service, The shipping industry and the growth of the railroads in the area that helped open Lewes up as a resort. As the modes of transportation changed so did Lewes with each step.
The Shipping Industry
The presentation plate as part of the railroad display
Public Service and a sense of community
The museum will take about an hour to comfortably walk through. It is a interesting and fun way to know the history of Lewes, De. The detail and interesting artifacts makes it a very engaging museum. The docents are really nice and helpful in explaining the displays.
The History of the Lewes History Museum:
(From the Museum website):
The Lewes History Museum is located in the Margarat H. Rollins Community Center at 101 Adams Avenue in Lewes, DE. For 54 years, The Lewes Historical Society has collected and preserved tens of thousands of historic artifacts, artwork, documents, maps and photos. Now it the support from the City of Lewes, a gift of $500,000 from the Ma-Ran Foundation and generous donations, this incredible collection is on continuous display at the Lewes History Museum.
The museum serves as the primary source of information about Lewes for visitors, researchers, students and residents. Enjoy ongoing exhibits featuring Lewe’ maritime history, decorative arts and artists, famous families of Lewes and how our region is seen through environmental change. The museum provides ongoing seminars, symposia and presentations along with a wing for community non-profit gatherings.
The popular Children’s Discovery Center is house inside the museum and is currently closed at this time. The Discovery Center offers an interactive, fun and educational experience for children of all ages. At the Center, children can experience 19th century Delaware by interacting in a replica general store and post office, playing around a scaled model of Cape Henlopen Lighthouse with a Morse code station, foghorn and reflecting lights. The Center also houses a Delaware River Pilots’ simulation module, a electronic table-top boat-building area and a lighthouse “keepers cottage”.
The community center is the centerpiece of the cultural campus in Lewes, including 18 miles of trails, a concert stage, parks, a children’s garden and the Lewes Public Library.
The Lewes History Museum Gift Shop